Lugduni (imprint false: likely printed in Germany): 1687. First Edition. 8vo (180 x 100 mm). , 295 pp. Later German quarter calf over decorated blue paper boards (actually two different sheets were utilized), printed waste utilized as spine lining (the text is in Latin and French), vellum corner tips, black spine label gilt (binding a bit worn), all edges stained red. Paper defect on fol. H3 (pp. 101/2) affecting five lines of text with loss, paper stock foxed and somewhat browned as is common with Germany medical books at this date, but a good unsophisticated copy, with a few leaves unopened. Very good. Item #3835
UNKNOWN PHYSICIAN ARGUES AGAINST HEAVY SMOKING IN 1687.
This curious medical book discusses (in 65 chapters) an uncharacteristically broad array of afflictions: vertigo, vomiting, stomach complaints, "hypochondria," "melancholia hypochondriaca" (ailments of the liver and spleen), arthritis, fever, coughing, grief, scurvy, bloody urine, epilepsy, asthma, and much more.
To these discussions are added a series of bewildering letters to various unknown recipients, including an argument addressed to a young student AGAINST SMOKING TOBACCO ("Ad juvenem quendam studiosum cui Nicotianae fumum dissuaseram," pp. 231-236). Here the anonymous author argues against the "noxious" smoke of tobacco ("Nicotiana") which is an "enemy to human nature." But the author conceeds that "No one of a sound mind will deny that this plant has been endowed with amazing strength by God the greatest Creator." Also: "All other plants were created in vain, and the earth was crushed by the useless weight of millions of plants in vain, because the faculties of all [other plants] were in this one plant [...] that can by itself remove and quench both cold and hot disease." However, the conclusion is that even "Moderate smoking is harmful, but much more harmful to those who sin in excess." We learn that the tobacco plant "not only has the power of subverting the stomach, but also has a certain narcotic capacity, and if we are to believe the writers of Indian affairs, it often produces wonderful visions." Such, however, should very rarely be put to use. Furthermore, tobacco is harmful to the skin and flesh; if smoked frequently the brain is weakened by the narcotic power; nor does it help the eyes. Finally, the author implores his young recipient to "abstain from daily smoking."
No copy in the U.S. The BL copy lacks the title-page.
BnF, Catalogue des sciences médicales II, p. 258.